The surprising SAG Award nominations and what they could mean for the Oscars


The Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) is one of the most reliable indicators of who might get their hands on a shiny Oscar statuette. 

Actors who have been nominated for a SAG Award often go on to be nominated for an Oscar.

In some cases, the nominations are bang-on.

Last year, Anthony Hopkins, Riz Ahmed, the late Chadwick Boseman, Gary Oldman and Steven Yeun were all nominated for a SAG Award for best male actor in a leading role.

They went on to receive nominations in the equivalent Oscar category.

Before that, Parasite‘s surprising SAG win helped predict its iconic Oscars sweep in 2020.

The winners may differ between the two ceremonies, but their shared nominees are telling.

A royal snub

First up, we need to talk about Spencer. 

From the moment Kristen Stewart’s moody portrayal of the late Princess Diana premiered to a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival in 2021, critics thought she was a shoo-in for best actress in a leading role.

But Stewart was snubbed by the SAG Awards, throwing doubt over an Oscar nomination.

The SAG Awards opted to nominate Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Jennifer Hudson (Respect) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) instead.

The Oscars could of course head in a different direction, but Stewart’s snub was still a huge shock.

Best Picture shakeup

The Oscars will nominate 10 films this year for Best Picture, while the SAG only has room for five nominees in its best ensemble category. 

Another way to look at this is the potential top-five Oscar favourites.

Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, House of Gucci and King Richard were nominated, while supposed frontrunner Power of the Dog was left out.

But Jane Campion’s western thriller did receive three individual nods for its actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Don’t Look Up‘s nomination may surprise you since the disaster flick was scorched by critics, but it appears the film’s impressive cast proved irresistible.

It starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep. And that’s not the entire main cast, either.

Apart from its ensemble nom, Don’t Look Up failed to reel in any individual honours.

CODA’s ensemble nomination boosted its chances at the Oscars, putting it ahead of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Denis Villeneuve’s star-studded Dune. 

The widely praised coming-of-age story about the child of deaf adults (CODA for short) debuted at the Sundance Film Festival a year ago.

West Side Story failed to attract much attention from SAG, with only Ariana DeBose receiving a nomination for best supporting actress.

Its star Rachel Zegler, who received a Golden Globe for her leading performance as Maria, missed out.

Critics couldn’t get enough of West Side Story, but the musical was an unfortunate box office flop.

Frontrunners (and other snubs)

Will Smith (King Richard) and Andrew Garfield’s (Tick, Tick… Boom!) expected nominations for best actor have only solidified their strong Oscar chances.

Stewart’s snub, meanwhile, has turned the best actress category on its head, potentially opening up the race for our very own Kidman.

For what it’s worth, Kidman won the 2022 Golden Globe for best actress in Being the Ricardos.

Jamie Doran and Ciarán Hinds were both recognised in Belfast‘s ensemble nomination, but their names were nowhere to be seen in the supporting actor category.

It seems SAG went for the big – well, bigger – names in that category, such as Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar) and Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza).

The SAG nominations are voted on by two panels of 2500 randomly selected SAG-AFTRA members. Unlike the Oscars, both film and TV actors are awarded.

Australian Murray Bartlett was honoured with a best actor nom for his fantastically chaotic role in HBO’s White Lotus series.

While costar Jennifer Coolidge has rightfully soaked up many of the nominations around the show, it’s nice to see Bartlett get some love too.

The 28th SAG Awards is slated for Sunday February 27.

View the full list of 2022 nominations here.

The Academy Award nominations will be announced on February 8, with the awards ceremony held on March 27.

We’ve Already Come Too Far To End This Now.

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